Mokena mayor, 3 trustees face nominating petition challenges
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY firstname.lastname@example.org January 11, 2013 5:06PM
Updated: February 14, 2013 6:43AM
Mokena Mayor Joe Werner and three incumbent trustees — John Mazzorana, Joseph Siwinski and George Metanias — could be eliminated from the ballot for the April 9 election if objections to their nominating petitions are upheld.
Challenging signatures on petitions is not uncommon before local elections, but a ruling against Werner and the incumbents could leave mayoral candidate Frank Fleischer and three trustee candidates to run unopposed. Such rulings can be appealed, however.
A court-appointed electoral board will hold a hearing at 3 p.m. Sunday at the village hall.
Such electoral boards typically include the mayor, village clerk and senior trustee, but Werner said they decided to recuse themselves to give the public “confidence” in the process. Mazzorana is the senior trustee in the village.
Rosemaria Genova — who circulated nominating petitions for Fleischer — filed objections to the petitions of Werner, Mazzorana and Siwinski, claiming they did not have enough valid signatures. She also claimed that all incumbent candidates, including village clerk Pat Patt and Metanias, all had one sheet that bore three sets of signatures signed by the same person and not the actual registered voter. However, she did not file objections to signatures on Patt’s and Metanias’ petitions.
Trustee candidate Anthony Bruozas, who also circulated petitions for Fleischer, objected to Metanias’ petitions, claiming he violated election law in filing them. According to Bruozas’ objection, Metanias filed his petitions with the village clerk and received a receipt, then took his petitions back and resubmitted them 10 minutes later.
The law states that petitions shall not be withdrawn, altered or added to, Bruozas said in his objection.
Werner, who is seeking his third term as mayor, said he is “confident” that the majority of his signatures will prove to be legitimate and that the electoral board will be “impartial.”
The board includes chairman Dan McGrath, Patrick Carey and Lawrence Gryczewski, all Mokena residents.
“You could take any petitions from any candidate and some signatures will be objectionable,” Werner said. He said objections are “part of the electoral process,” although he has never filed any.
“I would never challenge an opponent,” he said. “Ultimately, it is the voice of the voters.”
Fleischer, a former village trustee, lost to Werner in the mayoral election eight years ago.
Besides Bruozas, other trustee candidates include Mary Beth Windberg and Vincent DiFiore.
The two clerk candidates are Patt and challenger Jenifer Sciaky.